March 17th — St. Pratie’s Day

March 17th -- St. Pratie's Day

St. Patrick is a patron of Ireland.  March 17th, the liturgical Feast of St. Patrick, almost always occurs during the Lenten fast. Think about it.

And think about the potato (Solanum tuberosum; Gaelic “práta,” anglicized to “pratie“). Successful introduction of the New World crop bolstered the Irish countryside; the crop failures of the Potato Famine sent Irishmen to America; the Irish-American secular observance of St. Patrick’s Day was exported back to Ireland. Faith and Begorrah! And you thought “Globalization’ was new.

Read Gregory McNamee’s excellent post on the Britannica blog, and stop by the Potato Museum on your way back from the pub.


Sure, an’ all, wee Mr. Potato Head® is a registered trademark of Hasbro, Inc.,  used here under the “satire” provision of the Fair Use doctrine, dontcha know.  Mr. Head is a Yank “Baby Boomer,” but clean the  paidrín up and he makes a proper little leprechaun.

Image by Mike Licht. Download a copy here. Creative Commons license; credit Mike Licht,

Comments are welcome if they are on-topic, substantive, concise, and not obscene. Comments may be edited for clarity and length.

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2 Responses to “March 17th — St. Pratie’s Day”

  1. Patrick Scullin Says:

    Learn why this Irishman refuses to wear green on St. Paddy’s…

  2. Jeff Says:

    According to another definition I looked up, “pratie” is the anglicization of “prátai,” plural of “práta.” And this makes sense to me. I play and enjoy traditional Irish music, both the dance tunes and the soulful, melodic ones known as “slow airs.” There is a jig in the repertoire called “Gander in the Pratie Hole.” I had already suspected that a “pratie hole” is a shallow pit dug in the earth, used for the purpose of keeping potatoes fresh. My reason for that is because the tune perfectly evokes the image of a gander that has fallen in such a hole, and is running about frantically trying to escape from it. I finally became curious enough to look up “pratie,” and now I am sure that I have it right.

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